Hizbullah hiding its death tolls?
Hizbullah writes off Israeli reports of dozens of fighters killed as ‘psychological warfare’ but top IDF official insists: We have documents attesting to these numbers. Meanwhile, Hizbullah fighters killed in Bint Jbeil brought to Israeli forensic institute to be identified
A number of bodies of Hizbullah operatives who were killed during combat against IDF troops in south Lebanon were transferred Thursday to the National Institute of Forensic Medicine at Abu Kabir. With the aid of military personnel, the institute identified the bodies.
Other than the few bodies taken by IDF troops to the forensic institute, it is doubtful that anyone knows the precise number of Hizbullah operatives killed thus far. A senior military official said that by Tuesday, before the deadly confrontations in Bint Jbeil, at least “many dozen Hizbullah members” had been killed.
Casualties brought to Abu Kabir (Photo: Avi Cohen)
“We have documents attesting to these numbers, and it is likely that as the ground fighting continues, the number of Hizbullah casualties will rise,” he said, noting that senior Hizbullah staff leaders, but apparently no political leaders, were killed on the battlefield.
Hizbullah tries to paint different picture
Hizbullah, however, was exerting diligent efforts to paint a different picture. In his most recent speech Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah was seen practically pleaded to his men and the Lebanese people not to believe Israeli media reports on death tallies, because Israel was waging "a psychological war packed with lies."
Forensic Institute: Handling the bodies (Photo: Avi Cohen)
“I am stressing to you – we don’t hide the number of our dead. If a large number of our men are killed – we wouldn’t hide it but on the contrary we’d be proud of it. Like in Maroun a-Ras. We said there was a battle and we didn’t hide it. You must listen to us and not to the enemy’s psychological warfare,” he said.
Nasrallah’s words were published shortly after Mahmoud Komati, deputy chief of the Hizbullah politburo, told AP Tuesday that Hizbullah had incurred only 25 casualties. Hizbullah releases very limited information on its dead and their identities.
Although no reports have been made of Hizbullah casualties from the political echelons, it should be noted that since the outbreak of the fighting the IDF targeted the private homes of top leaders, including that of the organizations spiritual leader Sayeed Hassan Fadlallah, and the Hizbullah headquarters in Beirut.
Roee Nahmias contributed to the report.